“And what could be more quintessential to [the great British picnic] than the humble scotch egg? Extraordinary things. In the past, they went from rich man’s caprice to Victorian savoury. Now they inhabit a strange hinterland between pubby ubiquity and zhooshed-up gastro cliche.”
Oliver Thring, The Guardian
“Boil hard five pullet’s eggs, and without removing the white, cover completely with a fine relishing forcemeat, in which, let scraped ham, bear a due proportion. Fry of a beautiful yellow brown, and serve with a good gravy in the dish.”
Maria Eliza Rundell, A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1808
Think of Scotch eggs as the British equivalent of fair food. Take one hard-boiled egg, wrap it in a hefty layer of sausage meat, and deep fry. Simple, filling, and satisfyingly salty. Their origins are hard to pinpoint, although luxury British department store Fortnum & Mason happily takes the credit. According to the store’s official archivist (yes, they have one), Scotch eggs were created in the early 18th century to meet the needs of travelers. The eggs fit easily into a bag or handkerchief, were easy to transport, and could be eaten cold with one hand. The name does remain a mystery, though, as one thing seems certain: Scotch eggs are not, in fact, from Scotland.
Traditionally, Scotch eggs are deep fried. However, I have baked them and find the flavor and texture equally, if not more, pleasing. Of course baking has the added benefit of being healthier and less messy than deep frying. Experiment with both preparations if you like, and see what you prefer. Just be sure to make extra, as they make excellent leftovers. Although they are lovely as is, I find that a dollop of hot English mustard gives it that added boost of deliciousness.